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Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

RANGE Of   U l i J

the claws upon the hind-feet are flattened and somewhat nail-
like. There are about ten species, hut of course, as is so
universally the case, a great many more names have been given.
The molar formula is like that of j&nhydris save that there is an
extra premolar in the upper jaw. There are fourteen pairs of ribs,
of which eleven pairs reach the ten-jointed sternum. The caudals
are twenty-three. The Cape Otter, the " elawless " Otter, has been
separated as a genus ^ionyx. So too has the South American
JPteronura brasiliensis* But in neither case is the separation allowed
by Mr. Thomas in a recent revision of the genus.1 The latter
species has the reputation of being very fierce, and is known in

FIG. 228.—Otter.    iMtra <*ndgaria»     x $„
Uruguay by the ~rame of " Lobo de peclio bianco.** The British
species, L. vulgaris, reaches a length of 2 feet or so, with a tail of
16 inches ; it ranges over the whole of Europe and a large
portion of Asia. This Ofcter often burrows in the banks of the
streams* which it frequents ; and in the burrow in March or April
the female brings forth her young, three to five in number. It
will also frequent the sea-coast.
fossil Mustelidae. — Besides a number of the existing
genera there are fossil members of this family which cannot be
referred to existing genera. These latter extend back into time
as fax as the Eocene. Stenoplesictis, one of these Eocene forms
referable to the sub-family Mustelinae, is to be distinguished
1 -^Preliminary Notes on the Characters and Synonymy of the different Species
of Otter," Proc. Zool. Soc. 1889, p. 190.